Kamala Harris urged to ‘politely decline’ VP slot

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Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown thinks Sen. Kamala Harris should “politely decline” any offer to be Joe Biden’s vice presidential running mate.

The California Democrat, who dated Harris in the 1990’s, urged her to turn down a potential offer from the presumptive Democratic nominee, writing in a new opinion piece that the vice presidential position is “not the job” for Harris.

(Image: ABC7News screenshot)

Brown promoted the idea that Harris should instead be considered for the role of attorney general if Biden is elected in November, elaborating on the proposal published Saturday by the San Francisco Chronicle titled, “Brown: Kamala Harris should say no to vice presidency.”

“If Joe Biden offers the vice presidential slot to Sen. Kamala Harris, my advice to her would be to politely decline,” the 86-year-old former member of the California State Assembly wrote.

“Harris is a tested and proven campaigner who will work her backside off to get Biden elected,” he added. “That said, the vice presidency is not the job she should go for — asking to be considered as attorney general in a Biden administration would be more like it.”

Harris, a former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate who has been considered a frontrunner for Biden’s running mate, was 30-year-old when she began dating Brown, who was 60 at the time and still technically married though he and his wife, Blanche Vitero, had been separated since the 1980s.

Brown appointed Harris to a California medical board in 1994, despite her lack of any medical background. In an op-ed for the San Francisco Chronicle last year, Brown admitted: “Yes, we dated. It was more than 20 years ago. Yes, I may have influenced her career by appointing her to two state commissions when I was Assembly speaker.”

Brown predicted a “bumpy ride” ahead for Democrats even after the November election in his op-ed this weekend, noting that they “will be moving into the White House in the middle of a pandemic and economic recession,” if Biden wins.

“The next few years promise to be a very bumpy ride. Barack Obama and the Democrats saved the nation from economic collapse when he took office, and their reward was a blowout loss in the 2010 midterm elections,” he wrote.

“On the other hand, the attorney general has legitimate power,” Brown contended. “From atop the Justice Department, the boss can make a real mark on everything from police reform to racial justice to prosecuting corporate misdeeds. And the attorney general gets to name every U.S. attorney in the country. That’s power.”

Speculation about Harris as Biden’s possible running mate got a fresh infusion of energy last month when the former vice president was seen at an event in Delaware with notes in his hand that showed the name of his former primary rival.

Though he has promised several times to announce his running mate, Biden has repeatedly missed his own deadline but is expected to make an announcement this week.

Along with Harris, Rep. Karen Bass of California, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Rep. Val Demings of Florida, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois as well as former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice, have been named as contenders, though Harris has come under criticism for her past record as a California prosecutor and her contentious exchanges with Biden during primary debates.

In pressing for Harris to opt for the role of attorney general instead, Brown wrote that “just showing up and being halfway sane will make the new AG a hero,” as that person can focus on criticism of “the department’s current disarray under William Barr.”

“Best of all,” Brown added, “being attorney general would give Harris enough distance from the White House to still be a viable candidate for the top slot in 2024 or 2028, no matter what the state of the nation.”

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Frieda Powers

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